Puri’s iconic Rath Yatra started – but this time of course with a difference
The pandemic failed to cancel the iconic Rath Yatra in Puri. Hours after the Supreme Court allowed holding of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra with strict adherence to coronavirus guidelines, security was tightened and the rituals began in the coastal town. To avoid the public attendance and to adhere to the social distancing rules during the Yatra, all entry points to Puri in Odisha have been sealed. SC also directed the state government to impose curfew during the time of procession.
Not more than 500 people, including servitors and security personnel, were allowed to pull one chariot, and hence, the administration required 1,500 people to pull the three chariots. “We will have to collect samples from at least 1,500 people and get them examined by 11 am on Tuesday as chariot pulling is scheduled to start from 12 noon,” a health department official said. Today the Odisha government had tweeted that all of the servitors excluding one, have been tested negative. The COVID positive patient had been admitted and contact tracing is also undertaken.
Puri Rath Yatra is now being held in coordination between the Puri Temple committee, Odisha and the Central government without compromising the health issue, the SC maintained adding that the State government can even stop the Rath Yatra in case there is any lapse in terms of health safety
The Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Naveen Patnaik expresses his gratitude to the Supreme Court for allowing the Rath Yatra. He had also thanked the Central government for extending help and says Odisha government & the temple administration is fully prepared for the festival.
Had the world-famous Jagannath Rath Yatra been canceled by SC, It would have been for the first time in 284 years.